49ers Win in Charlotte

The 49ers took control of the game from their first possession.  They received the ball first and proceeded to explode down the field.  A 20-yard throw to George Kittle and a 41-yard run by Jeff Wilson Jr. and the Niners were well inside the red-zone.  Newly resigned Tevin Colman scampered nine yards for the touchdown.  The defense promptly took the field and quickly dispatched Baker Mayfield and the Carolina Panthers with a three and out.   This is how the game started, and things didn’t improve much for the Panthers the rest of the game.


Areas of Improvement

Despite the win, the 49ers still have a few areas to work on.  First and foremost, the special teams need to work on tackling.  Robbie Gould has no business tackling a ball carrier with as many young defenders as the Niners have on their roster.  His second tackle sidelined him for the remainder of the game and may sideline him longer.

Injuries have decimated the offensive line.  However, it’s the NFL and at least one of your units will always be depleted of a front-line player.  In the Niners case they are down to their third string left tackle.  Jaylon Moore must consistently play better, particularly in pass protection.  The coaching staff can help him thru their scheme.  Jimmy Garoppolo consistently suffered pressure when he dropped in a 5 to 7 seven drop.  Moore can’t block for that long.  Shanahan figured that out and did some excellent in game adjustments to help the line out with his run play calls.  Play action calls will stun the defensive lineman and will give Jimmy G an extra second to find a receiver.  Overall, the pass protection must improve to give Jimmy G the time he needs to throw.

Jimmy G is comfortable throwing into tight windows.  In fact, he is too comfortable for my taste.  During the first two possessions, Jimmy G threw into double coverage on multiple occasions.  It is unclear if he was late on the throw, or he thought he could jam it in there.  In either case, he almost caused turnovers in the Niners own territory. Throughout the game he attempted to force the ball to Deebo Samuel on at least five occasions where it was questionable at best.  Deebo dropped two passes and caught two passes.  The other five balls were ill advised throws.   After Jimmy G settled into the game, he made better decisions.  Play calling helped as well with a serious of screens and simple flat routes.

Lastly once the 49ers gain the upper hand, they need to develop a mindset of stepping on the opponent’s throat.  The defense has no problem with that.  However, the offense finds a way to spit and sputter after having an explosive drive.  They have done it two weeks in a row.  During their second possession of this game, George Kittle allowed the ball to be punched out of his hand whilst the Niners were on a promising drive.  These types of issues must be cleaned up.  The Niners must redevelop a playoff mindset.



Sunday’s game was costly.  Jimmy Ward returned to the lineup only to be sidelined with a broken hand during the first defensive possession.  Nick Bosa pulled his groin and Emmanuel Mosely may have a torn ACL.  Finally, Robbie Gould hurt his knee during his second tackle of the game.  Thankfully the 49ers are deep at defensive back and in the defensive line.  Losing Mosely will hurt.  Jason Verrett can’t return to the team soon enough.  Hopefully Bosa returns in a few weeks’ time if not next week.  Groin injuries have a way of nagging though.  Bosa needs to take the time he needs to heal.  The defensive line is deep enough that they can miss him for a game or two.  Rookie Drake Jackson notched his second sack this season.  For Bosa, healing properly in a long season where the Niners are poised for another playoff run is key.


Bright Spots

The 49ers defense once again smothered the opposing offense.  They did not give up a touchdown.  They won 12 of 15 third down situations.  Emmanuel Mosely picked of Mayfield for a touchdown.  The Niners held the Panthers rushing attack under 70 yards.  Finally, they pressured Mayfield so much they knocked him out of the game.

On offense Jeff Wilson Jr., racked up 120 yards and a touchdown against a stingy defensive line.  Jimmy G avoided the BIG mistake.  Finally, Jimmy G found Brandon Aiyuk and Juan Jennings for several key third down conversions.  If there is another area to improve on its to get these two players more involved.  Like Aiyuk, Juan Jennings is a great blocker on the edge, but he is even more special with a ball in his hands.  Defenders don’t want to bring him down and he is a dynamic physical runner.

The 49ers are glad to have Tevin Coleman back.  He seems to be in mid-season form as he scored two touchdowns; one rushing and one receiving.  Finally, though he stared down Deebo too much, Jimmy G spread the ball around to seven different receivers including three running backs. Spreading the ball around makes the opposition defend the whole field.

The 49ers head to the Briar Patch to prepare for Atlanta next Sunday.  Hopefully they can close out this east coast trip with two wins.

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